Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Chief Martin Brody

Before Jaws, there were no summer blockbusters. In 1975, all that changed with the film of a great white shark terrorizing tourists off the coast of Amity Island.

Roy Scheider as Chief Martin Brody
Roy Scheider as Chief Martin Brody

Today’s Wednesday Warriors is all about protecting the townsfolk from the dreaded watery beast. Martin Brody (Roy Scheider), the new chief of police is that protector.

Having recently moved from the city, Chief Brody wakes up in a town filled with people who want to make the beach their home until Labor Day. First day at work and everything seems to be going fine until Brody finds himself investigating the mysterious death of a girl whose body lies in tatters by the shore.

His first instinct is to pay a visit to the town’s general store to purchase art supplies for making signs to close the beach. But once the mayor (Murray Hamilton) hears of the news that the chief wants to shut the town’s life supply of tourist dollars, Brody gets an earful from the political echelon. Forcing the beach to remain open, he takes steps to prevent anything from happening again. He had already determined the girl died of a shark attack and he didn’t want any of that happening again. Not on Brody’s watch.

Joining Chief Brody on his quest to rid the coast of the great white is Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) from the Oceanographic Institute. Unlike those working with him, Hooper’s reluctance to participate in a lynch mob against the shark sets him apart to tell the chief they are dealing with a very large shark.

Jaws Movie Poster
Jaws Movie Poster

The story turns sinister when everybody, including Amity’s bar hopping crowd, wants to get in on the killing. They want the shark to pay for the death that it caused, regardless if their use of dynamite could kill anyone caught near the blast.

As for Brody, he’s stuck in the middle attempting to appease the general public that he’s doing everything he can to catch the monstrous horror brutalizing the town’s tourist season, and wresting control from an ignorant mayor who prefers to see progress rather than closure for the town.

When a little boy disappears in the water however, the chief has no one else to blame but himself. Despite the protests of the mayor and the town’s commercial sector, he closes the beach until further notice. He won’t be taking any more chances.

From there, he develops a friendship with Quint (Robert Shaw), the town’s voice of reason. Although Quint might not be the type of character Brody would normally associate with, Brody gains the courage to go out in the waters to hunt and kill the great white with Quint’s help.

And here is Brody’s greatest character trait. Frightened of the water, he doesn’t balk at the fact that he needs to face his problem. He embarks on Quint’s boat and takes it upon himself to forget his fears in order to fight the very thing that is causing Amity’s trials.

When Brody comes to realize his fear of the water is nothing in comparison to seeing the great white in person, he utters one of the most famous lines in the movie:

“We’re going to need a bigger boat.”


Have you seen Jaws? What did you enjoy most about the film?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Why I Love Zombies

It’s spring break here in Canada, so I thought I’d give you a treat today. Rather than a laborious tome of sorts you have to work through, I’m going to give you something different to chew on (‘scuse the pun).

Toronto Zombie Walk 2014 [Photo credit: Igor Baranov,]
Toronto Zombie Walk 2014 [Photo credit: Igor Baranov,]
For today’s Monday Mayhem article, I’m going to scrawl a list of reasons why I think zombies are cool. A single list. No elaborate references. No major theories—although that would be cool, too.

Here we go:

  • There are fast zombies for some of us and there are slow zombies for some of us.
  • They’re Horror’s biological Terminators.
  • Once they see something they want, they never surrender pursuing it.
  • The genre is always changing.
  • A virus that can turn people into the undead is a pretty scary thing.
  • A shotgun is the weapon of choice for many zombie slayers.
  • Zombies make great crash test dummies.
  • Zombies can’t swim.
  • Zombies can’t fly either, unless you throw them off a cliff. But even then…
  • A Louisville Slugger, popcorn and a horde of zombies make for a fun evening staying in.
  • A lot of thought goes into pulling off a memorable zombie kill.
  • A narrow alley, a truck and a crowd of undead proves you don’t need a shotgun to kill them.
  • Sharks and zombies share many similarities.
  • Throwing a zombie from a plane still doesn’t prove they can fly.
  • Zombies vs. Skunks. I still say skunks would win.
  • They’ll keep pounding on the door no matter how many chairs you put in front of it.
  • They don’t take no for an answer.
  • Running up a tree doesn’t guarantee your safety. You’ll eventually have to come down.
  • If the undead is slow, you can outrun them in a field. Inside a building, you are dead.
  • A chain-linked fence provides a great deterrent against the undead.
  • A woman with a samurai sword rocks.
  • A woman with a shotgun rocks even harder.
  • A zombie bite does not make you a vampire.
  • Zombies never have to use a restroom.
  • They aren’t very smart even though they know how to open a door.
  • Much like wolves, the undead hunt in packs.
  • They have an acute sense of hearing.
  • Zombies don’t eat hamburger. Seriously, they don’t!

That’s all there is to it. These are the reasons I love zombies. Now it’s your turn.

[Thank you Igor Baranov for granting the use of your 2014 Toronto Zombie Walk photography for this article.]


Why do you love zombies?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombies Are Like…

The last time I went to the zoo, I seem to remember the tour guide saying how lions, when they ate and had satiated their hunger, a person could literally pet the beast without worrying it would attack. Now, I wouldn’t be so foolish hanging out in a lion’s den, even if I knew they had just finished a course of three gazelles and an antelope, no matter what anyone would attempt to pay me. But the whole experience got me thinking. What makes a lion so different from a zombie?

A majestic lion
A majestic lion

I save these weird and wonderful questions for my Monday Mayhem series as a way to spur discussion, even when I sometimes feel I could do better by writing about the zombie genre’s cult status in cinema. But I digress.

So I thought today I’d write about the similarities between zombies and the animal kingdom by prefacing my thoughts with the phrase “zombies are like” and taking it from there. Who knows, I might actually surprise myself because I’m not sure where this is going to lead.

Zombies are like lions. A pride of lions can devour their prey whole, tearing at the innards until there’s nothing left of the body. Similarly, a horde of zombies can rip apart their victims without so much as waiting to digest what they have sitting in their decomposing stomachs. Lions also will not quit until they have their jaws firmly clamped on their prey’s throat. Not much different to zombies who always end up going for the jugular.

Zombies are like wolves. Wolves hunt in packs. Wolves will surround their prey until there’s no place to escape. Once they’re ready, they will attack without remorse. Zombies will do the same thing. It doesn’t matter if its a house, a barn or a tent. They will surround their victims, attack and not think anything of it. That is to say, if they could think at all.

Zombies are like sharks. At the slightest hint of blood in the waters, sharks will react. They will hunt their prey, wear it down, taunt it, then move in for the kill. Zombie ears and eyes will pick up the slightest vibration and change in scenery. The undead will hunt their victims, exhausting them run after run. They will not tire, and they will not wait. Eventually, the undead will always win.

Zombies are like ants. Okay, so this one is an insect. Haven’t you ever seen insects in a zoo? They swarm their victims in an attempt to overwhelm them and gain the advantage. One ant is insignificant. Many ants is a problem. One ant can’t do much damage, whether it’s during a foraging expedition or a fight. Many ants will cover their victims and consume them to the bone. I’m thinking of the skeletal remains of a yak in the middle of the Arizona desert. It wasn’t only vultures that had feasted on the body.

There you have a few of the animals I think are similar to zombies. They’re aplenty, and I’m sure you probably could think of many others. One thing though—have you thought about zombie similarities with bats? Okay, maybe I’m stretching it. I think I may have entered the vampire domain with this one.


What animal do you think zombies resemble and why?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Why Don’t Zombies Eat Each Other?

Everyone has their ideas of why zombies do the things they do. Why do zombies eat brains? Why do zombies from forty years ago lurch while today’s undead sprint toward their victims? Do zombies ever have to go to the bathroom?

The human brain.
The human brain.

I’m dedicating today’s Monday Mayhem post to the ultimate question: Why don’t zombies eat each other?

To answer this question I’m going to speculate, hypothesize, and take a few wild guesses. I’m sure everyone has an opinion, but how scientific are unsubstantiated opinions? Does science have an answer? I’m totally going to throw a dart with the hope it sticks and makes sense. Let’s see how far I get.

This is my theory.

Whether folks are talking about zombies bred by a curse, a virus or a freakish experiment gone wrong, the undead know only one thing—to eat. I’ve mentioned this before in the context of sharks. If anything is true about zombies, they are like sharks that smell blood in the waters. They hunt until there’s nothing left of their prey. Similarly, the undead search for the living as a means of nourishment in order to satisfy a craving deep within their bodies. That craving dictates their actions to terrorize humans for their own personal fulfillment. No matter what they do, they can’t feel satiated by their latest conquest and have to kill again in an endless cycle.

Of course, the next question to come from the astute reader is why. Why do zombies search for humans to fill the void in their souls? With all the meat around them—although undead nonetheless—why go for human? Won’t eating their kind stem the hunger burning within their bowels?

Pituitary Gland.
Pituitary Gland.

The answer to that is no. The question references the same question posed throughout the decades: why do zombies eat brains? It’s the same answer as to why don’t zombies eat each other?

John A. Russo’s film The Return of the Living Dead popularized the idea of zombies eating brains. Brains? Yes. Zombies need endorphins to sooth the pain of decomposition. Since their own kind can’t provide the endorphins needed to quell the agony of a slow death, humans will fill that void.

Located at the base of the brain, the pituitary gland produces the endorphins zombies need to relieve the pain of their immanent demise. To get to the gland, the undead would have to capture a human, bash the skull and draw the prize by scoops. Zombies simply can’t fulfill this order from other zombies. For one thing, in death their pituitary glands no longer secrete endogenous morphine (a.k.a. endogenous opioid inhibitory neuropeptides) as the nervous system is dead. No nervous system, no endorphins.

What was that analogy I’d used earlier? Right, sharks smell the blood in the water of their victims. Can it be zombies also smell the endorphins from humans as they go about their daily lives trying to stay alive during a zombie apocalypse?

What do you think?


Why do you think zombies don’t each other? Is there a better theory?